Getting married at San Francisco City Hall? Congratulations!
San Francisco City Hall is a beautiful place for a ceremony. I’ve had the pleasure to photograph many lovely weddings at this venue, and so I wanted to create a page just to answer questions related to holding a ceremony here.
How do I get married at San Francisco City Hall?
In order to get married at City Hall, you’ll need to make TWO reservations in advance; one for your marriage license, and the other for your ceremony. You can choose to make these reservations for the same day, or to obtain your license before the ceremony date. Reservations for either can only be made up to 90 days in advance. Ceremonies can be booked Monday-Friday from 10:00 am to 3:30 pm. Ceremonies are held every 30 minutes, with three reservation slots available during each time period. Couples must pay for their reservation at the time of booking. After submitting payment, the reservation cannot be changed (i.e., changing date/time). The marriage license is valid for 90 days from the date it is issued. Appointments may be made in one of two ways:
·Online – by going to Online Civil Ceremony Reservations. Reservations can be booked with a Visa or MasterCard only. A $5.00 convenience fee will be added.
·In person - Reservations may be made by one of the parties to the marriage or a third party. The person making the reservation must pay at the time of making the appointment. Cash, money order, and debit card are the ONLY methods of payment accepted (i.e. NO credit cards are accepted in person).
Where do we actually hold the ceremony?
Ceremonies are performed in a location determined by the commissioner (usually a private ceremony room or the rotunda, if available.) Unfortunately, specific requests for the rotunda or any other area can not be accepted as they cannot guarantee availability.
For an additional fee, you can choose to hold their ceremony on the 4th floor, or on the Mayor’s Balcony. Both locations offer space for up to 100 guests, up to one hour of time, and also offer more privacy as each area is roped off from the public. Click here to take a Photo Tour of City Hall.
Which location is best?
Every location is gorgeous! If you’d like to see a tour of each location, check out the City Hall website.
The Rotunda is beautiful and free! Things to consider about this location: this location can’t be guaranteed, you are limited to a maximum of 6 guests, there is somewhat limited privacy (it is adjacent to the elevators and administrative offices), and you are allowed a maximum of 10 minutes for the ceremony and photos. (Depending on the day/time, other couples next in line to be married may be standing near by during your ceremony).
The 4th Floor and the Mayor’s Balcony are both more private, can accommodate up to 100 guests, and allow up to 1 hour. Couples may also choose to have chairs provided for their guests, as well as a table for a champagne toast. Things to consider about these locations are that both require advance reservations through the Office of Special Events, as well as an additional rental fee of approximately $1,002.
How do I reserve the 4th Floor or the Mayor’s Balcony?
Contact the City Hall Events Department at (415) 554-6068 or visit them online. Office hours are 9:00 am-5:30 pm, Monday – Friday.
What does it cost to get married at San Francisco City Hall?
There are several fees involved:
1) The marriage license fee is $99, AND
2) The fee to hold a ceremony on-site in the Rotunda or a private ceremony room with the County Clerk is $75, OR
The fee to hold a ceremony with a County Clerk off the City Hall grounds is $220. For more information, contact the Office of the County Clerk, Room 168, at (415) 554-4950, by email at: email@example.com, or online at www.sfgov.org/countyclerk , OR
The fee to hold a ceremony on the 4th Floor or Mayor’s Balcony, is $1,002.
For more information on holding events in the evening or on a weekend, please contact the Office of Special Events, Room 495, at (415) 554-6079 or visit them online.
How far in advance do we have to reserve a reservation for a City Hall ceremony?
Appointments may be made up to 90 days in advance. Popular dates, such as Valentine’s Day, or 12/12/12, etc book up quickly!
Where is San Francisco City Hall located? Where can I park?
San Francisco City Hall is wheelchair accessible and very convenient to public transportation. The closest accessible Bart Station is Civic Center, three blocks from City Hall. Accessible Muni lines are the 42, 71 and F Line to Market and Van Ness, Civic Center. Public parking garage is conveniently located across the street (under ground) from City Hall at Civic Center Plaza.
Where do we go for the marriage license?
Room 168, on the first floor. The couple and up to 2 witnesses should arrive at Room 168′s Information Desk for check-in 10 minutes before your appointment time (other witnesses will be asked to wait in the waiting area.)
What do we need to bring with us on the big day?
Legal photo identification, cash or check to pay all fees, a valid marriage license, 1 witness, and no more than 6 guests.(And don’t forget the rings!)
Do we need a witness?
If you are obtaining a public marriage license, then YES, you do need 1 witness. Note: Unfortunately, City Hall can not/will not provide or act as your witness. If you are obtaining a private marriage license, you do NOT need a witness.
Can my photographer act at my witness?
Yes! I have done this for my clients in the past, and welcome the opportunity to do so again. It’s an honor. Just ask!
How long does the whole process take?
It takes approximately 30 minutes to obtain the marriage license. It is recommended that if you plan to obtain the marriage license on the SAME day as the ceremony, that you book the two appointments at least 1 hour apart. The actual ceremony lasts about 5 minutes, with a total of 10 minutes given to each couple, when the ceremony is performed in the Rotunda by the County Clerk. Ceremonies conducted on the 4th Floor or Mayor’s Balcony, or those performed by a private officiant, may last up to 1 hour.
After the ceremony, then what?
Breathe….relax…..celebrate! After the ceremony, we typically photograph family and couple shots on-site at San Francisco City Hall. For larger City Hall packages, we also visit several sites around San Francisco for photographs.
Where can I see photos of San Francisco City Hall weddings?
Just click here to see photos of some San Francisco City Hall weddings that I have had the honor to photograph.
How much does it cost to book you to photograph our City Hall wedding?
Our City Hall wedding commission includes 2 photographers and approximately 2-3 hours of coverage, allowing us to fully capture the story of your day, from the pre-ceremony preparations in Room 168 (typically scheduled one hour before your ceremony), the ceremony itself, and photos both inside/outside City Hall afterwards. This commission also includes hosting of a private, online gallery that allows you to easily share your photos with your family and friends who were not able to be present. Your favorite images from your wedding are then lovingly edited and presented in a luxurious Japanese silk DVD folio, or as prints in a hand made Presentation Box. The investment for this commission is $1695. (Traditional fine art wedding albums are also available for purchase. Please inquire for more details.)